Jesus, Son of David (2 Tim. 2:8-15)
- Reading I: 2 Timothy 2:8-15
- Resp. Psalm: Ps. 25
- Gospel Reading: Mark 12:28-34
The selection for the second reading begins with a Christological statement that Paul refers to as his gospel. In Romans 1:3-4 we find a similar statement:
the gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh, but established as Son of God in power according to the spirit of holiness through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.
We are told in Acts that this was what Paul taught in his first missionary journey (see Acts 13). If the enemies of the gospel that Paul talks about in 2 Timothy is anything like the gnostic groups which denied the humanity of Christ then the insistence on the humanity of Jesus “a descendant of David” has a polemical value.
In vv. 11-13, we find a “hymnic fragment” that is worth memorizing (“the saying is true”) since it summarizes in just a few lines what the Christian life is about:
If we have died with him
we shall also live with him;
if we persevere
we shall also reign with him.
But if we deny him
he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful
he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny himself.
“Dying” and “living” with Christ is of course the meaning of Christian baptismal life. “Perseverance” is the continuing fidelity of Christians inspite of the difficulties of discipleship. “Fidelity” to Christ is expressed in publicly acknowledging him. (The synoptics contain sayings of Jesus about the possibility of disciples publicly disavowing him.) The last statement about Christ’s fidelity is similar to old testament sayings about the fidelity of God to the consistently disloyal Israel.
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